|"Stone Cold" Smart vs. the Rock|
Finally … The Rock is making his return to WWE. He has been announced as the special guest host for Wrestlemania 27. This is a big deal in the wrestling world, and thankfully the rumors of the host being Justin Bieber were only rumors.
But is it really something to get excited about? Will it make Wrestlemania a must see show? I may get some heat for what I’m about to write, but in my opinion this is nothing more than a desperation move by Vince McMahon.
We’re currently less than seven weeks away from Wrestlemania. The biggest show of the year and based on current story lines the only foreseeable matches are; John Cena vs The Miz, Edge vs. Alberto Del Rio, CM Punk vs. Randy Orton and possibly Jerry Lawler vs. Michael Cole.
Outside of those top of the card matches the only other match with seeds being planted is Big Show vs. Ezekial Jackson. Out of these matches only the Cena/Miz match up feels like a Wrestlemania worthy match. Alberto Del Rio, while getting the push of a lifetime, getting a title match at Wrestlemania feels rushed. CM Punk and Randy Orton will most likely have some interaction with each other for the next seven weeks making their match anti-climatic. Unless Jerry Lawler lays a beating on Michael Cole so severe Cole never commentates another match, what’s the point of having two announcers wrestle on the grandest stage of all? In other words, what is going to make this year’s Wrestlemania feel important?
That’s why I think Vince McMahon is panicking and figured he had to do something big to get people interested in Wrestlemania. So he brings in "the most electrifying person in all of entertainment" to get people excited. The Rock has not been in a WWE ring in almost 7 years. And outside of appearing at the Hall of Fame ceremony three years ago, he’s had very little to do with WWE since transitioning from wrestler to actor. Unlike Steve Austin or Mick Foley who continued to make appearances after they retired and subsequently diminished their aura, The Rock still has that larger than life wrestling persona in the eyes of the fans. Announcing him as host of Wrestlemania has people already contemplating ordering the pay per view simply because of The Rock will be there.
The Rock recently stated on his website he won’t wrestle again. He achieved all his goals during his time in WWE and has nothing left to prove. If that is indeed true, it would stand to reason the only thing The Rock will be doing at Wrestlemania is talking. Now there’s no denying The Rock’s ability to entertain when he has a microphone in his hand. I would even say he’s a better talker than wrestler so him not wrestling will be more entertaining than if he were to have a match at Wrestlemania. The pay per view costs around $50, I think. Are fans really going to shell out that kind of money simply to hear The Rock spout off catch phrases? Maybe I’m underestimating the power of The Rock, or the mindset of wrestling fans, I just can’t imagine anyone spending money simply because of one person.
During his return to Monday Night Raw, The Rock verbally ran down John Cena. I know Cena is the modern day Rock, but what was the point? John Cena has in the past criticized The Rock for walking away from wrestling fans and for turning his back on wrestling in general. Those comments though were done in various interviews and not on WWE programming. Most fans probably aren’t aware of Cena’s comments therefore The Rock making fun of Cena came out of nowhere since both guys are fan favorites. In addition to the insults being out of place, Cena didn’t come to the ring to confront The Rock. Are we to think Cena had left the building or wasn’t watching or listening while The Rock was in the ring? I don’t know how many appearances The Rock will make on WWE programming before Wrestlemania so maybe he’ll show up next week and Cena will confront him then. If that happens, assuming The Miz retains his title and Cena wins the Elimination Chamber match as is expected thus creating their title match at Wrestlemania, the focus gets shifted from a title match to a match that isn’t going to happen. So I will once again scratch my head and question what is the point of The Rock mocking John Cena?
This also leads to one of my biggest complaints whenever a former superstar shows up in WWE. Even if it’s only for a one time appearance, the former superstar usually gets to make a current superstar look like a fool. Steve Austin made Muhammad Hassan, Carlito, Santino Marella and others look foolish during his returns to WWE programming. I know, some will justify it by saying those guys weren’t on Austin’s level so him getting himself over at their expense isn’t a big deal. I disagree. It’s all about the message being sent to the viewer. If guys are treated as subpar talent, fans will see them as subpar talent. Instead of having past superstars bury up and coming talent, the guys who’s have achieved super stardom should be used in a manner that elevates the current wrestlers. Maybe I’m putting the cart before the horse and this won’t happen, but I’ve seen the scenario enough to be concerned.
My final question is why does Wrestlemania need a guest host? There have been 26 Wrestlemanias so far and none of them needed a host. Yes there have been celebrity guests used as everything from timekeepers to ring announcers to commentators, but none were hosts. What exactly will The Rock be doing as host? Is this a way to create excitement because there are currently no Wrestlemania level matches outside of of John Cena vs. Undertaker, and that doesn’t appear to be in the cards this year. My suggestion for WWE creative for the next year is to start elevating talent and stop rushing through every possible match up so next year something fresh can be booked for Wrestlemania 28.
While I don’t think The Rock is needed at Wrestlemania. I will be there in person and will more than likely be cheering along and playing sing along with The Rock while he busts out all the catch phrases. What I’m hoping for is at least one big time Wrestlemania match. Is it too much to ask for a wrestling show to provide one good wrestling match?